Nov 30, 2006 1:26 pm US/Pacific
Pilot Survives F-18 Crash Near Miramar Air Station
The pilot ejected before the jet hit the ground at midday outside San Diego, according to a statement from the Marines.
The pilot parachuted to safety and was found soon after the crash. Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said his condition was not immediately known.
Witnesses said the jet went straight down, followed by a big cloud of smoke.
"All of a sudden his nose pitched down and you saw the pilot eject, his canopy fully deployed, and that jet just went straight down," eyewitness Brett Barrowclougi said. "The next thing you saw was a big cloud of smoke coming up."
The crash sparked a brush fire in the remote area, according to Luque. Fire crews were dispatched to fight the blaze.
The cause of the crash, which occured during a routine training flight, was not immediately known.